Boiled Capon (Chicken in a rich fruit sauce)

To boile a capon.
Put the Capon into the pouder beefe pot, and when you thinke it almost tender, take a little potte and put therein halfe water and halfe wine, marie, currants, dates, whole mace, vergice, pepper, & a litle time.
Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswife’s Jewell, 1596.

To boil a capon.
Put the capon into the heavy stock pot, and when you think it almost tender, take a little pot and put therein half water and half wine, bone marrow, currants, dates, whole mace, verjuice, pepper, and a little thyme.



1 chicken, OR 1.5kg chicken pieces
125mL white wine 100g bone marrow ½ tsp mace
125mL water 60g currants 1 tsp ground black pepper
40mL verjuice 60g dates 2 tbs thyme leaves


  1. Put your chicken or chicken pieces into a pot and cover with water, and boil until the chicken flesh is completely opaque.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the bone marrow and dates finely.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil. Stir occasionally and cook until the sauce is well reduced.
  4. Drain the chicken, and carve it into joints.
  5. Pour the sauce over it to serve.


  • “Marie” is another name for bone marrow – the substance in the middle of bones (and in the case of cows, the best part of the cow, and I love beef). You will often find butchers sell leg bones cheaply for dogs (lucky dogs) – get the butcher to saw it into pieces for you as they generally have electric saws.
  • Verjuice is the juice squeezed from unripe grapes, and has a sour flavour, but not as strong as vinegar. It was a popular flavouring in medieval and Tudor times.



Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Black, Maggie (1996). The Good Housewife’s Jewel

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